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Archive for the ‘General Geekiness’ Category

As you may have guessed from a blog primarily about food and photos of food, I love eating. I also have a fair few interests that involve sitting on my arse. You can probably imagine this can sometimes lead to me putting on a bit of weight that I don’t necessarily want. I think the problem is finding exercise that I enjoy that can be done mid week after work. I really like getting out into the country and going for a walk, but that happens far less frequently that I would like. I’m also not very competitive, which is a bit of a hindrance when combined with an innate laziness.

I’d been after something to encourage me to do more exercise for a while, preferably something that could help me forget the fact that I was actually doing exercise. I’d heard of Zombies, Run! before but thought I wasn’t quite fit enough to use it yet since I’d never really tried running much. Luckily they’d been kind enough to release a 5K training version of it. This is a way of building up your ability to run, but starting slowly. You walk for a minute and run for fifteen seconds, changing the ratio of the two until you should be able to run 5K after a certain number of weeks / months. All the while you are listening to a story about zombies that helps explain why you’re running around like a lunatic, and listening to your own music. This sounded perfect for me.  A geeky story and a simplistic computer game tied in with running – It even displayed your route with statistics and the map looked like it was from a zombie video game. What could go wrong?

Zombie

I could fall down at the end of my third run in a horribly embarrassing and equally painful manner. That’s what could go wrong. During my run from the zombies a simple pot hole in the pavement caused me to go flying and sprain my lovely, lovely ankle. Thankfully I had made it past the large gym window full of genuinely fit people on their pothole free treadmills. I picked myself up and shambled home in a manner not dissimilar to that of the imaginary zombies that I had been fleeing from just moments before.

My ankle is still pretty sore so I’m gonna start swimming again for the next few weeks whilst my ankle heals. Fingers crossed I’ll not drown. When I’m all healed though I’m definitely going to try this again as I did find it surprisingly fun. It’s a nice simple way to get started (you mainly walk during the first few sessions, hence my super-slow pace in the screenshot above) but this stops you overdoing and completely tiring yourself out, and having a zombie story is a good way to keep your mind off the running.

One final thing that I have learned over the past week, is that I very much doubt I would survive a zombie apocalypse. I am hoping that this one, terrifying thought will be enough to get me fit.

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A week and a bit ago I had a weekend to myself so in an effort to avoid boredom/madness I decided to be super productive and take foody photos (the pizza in my most recent post) and also have a go at making some Christmas presents, which I will not post about until after Christmas, for fairly obvious reasons…

All in all it was a success but I wanted to get out of the flat as I was going stir crazy so I wandered down to the Dundee Contemporary Arts to have a look at some indie game developers showing off their latest creations. Oh yeah, I am that cool.

Some people may find wandering around a video game exhibition on their lonesome a faintly embarrassing experience. It turns out I may be one one of those people.

After the initial embarrassment dispersed I did get chatting to some of the developers and it turned out to be quite an interesting couple of hours. I love video games and have done since I was a kid so I find the current climate really interesting. The rise of independent game developers creating low budget but often innovative games is, I think, a good thing for an industry over saturated with generic war shooters.

I’m sure this is something I will discuss more in the future but at the moment I think people should check out Pippin Barr’s selection of games and ‘games’. They are at times funny, frustrating, clever, confusing and often downright bizarre.

One that Pippin demonstrated at the event was Safety Instructions. This is effectively a typing game, where you have 10 seconds to type out the safety instructions on the screen. Sounds basic but it is actually entertaining. Pippin said that his aim was to create a sense of panic in the player, and oddly this does work. I like this idea of using very simple game play mechanics to create specific emotions within the player. I’m a fairly clumsy typer so I ended seeing this screen a fair bit.

He also has games which made me laugh, partly down to how daft they are but that just makes them more enjoyable. Epic Sax Game and Zorba are two examples of these.

There are lots of games on his site here which are all very simple but they are worth investigating. Often these sort of things can be seen as pretentious and I guess I can sometimes see why, but they are also definitely interesting. I think experimental and/or indie game developers are important as they can try things out that bigger developers would see as too much of a risk. A small indie company do not have to ensure they get a metacritic rating of 85 or over to get a bonus or even keep their jobs, so they can create content that may split the audience. These experiments and even the mistakes are useful for future developers (larger and small) as they can see what is a good idea, or where something went wrong and hopefully create more interesting and unique content in the future.

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